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rome, john allen of cnn. he covers the vatican for the network and for the "national catholic reporter." we thank you all three for being with us. john allen, i'm going to stay with you. how much of a surprise was this? >> judy, i think this was a near total shock. just to tell you how crazy it was, i was actually scheduled to have lunch with a senior vatican official, a guy who works ju down the hall from the papal apartment. as of early this morning even he didn't know it was coming. as your set-up piece indicated the shock isn't the content of the decision -- benedict had hinted fairly openly that he was receptive to the idea of a pope resigning, that actually under some circumstances a pope would have an obligation to resign if he's not able to continue to perform his duties. but certainly the timing of it, i think, fell out of a clear blew sky just like the rain we're experiencing in rome here tonight. >>woodruff: monsignor hilgartner, what about the timing of this? what does it say that he made this decision especially in contrast to what his predecessor pope john paul had been t
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